Friday, 14 March 2014

BOOK TOUR & EXCERPT - Round the Bend by Alistair McGuinness ~ Adventure Travel

Round the bend book coverAlistair McGuinness

Round the Bend

Publisher: Matador (November 26, 2013)
ISBN-13: 978-1780883908
Category: Travel, Adventure Travel, Living & Working Abroad
Tour Dates: March, 2014
Available in: Print & ebook, 256 pages

From Luton to Peru to Ningaloo, a Search for Life After Redundancy
Three things happened simultaneously. The lioness charged, Alistair fled across the parched savannah and his wife screamed for him to run faster. Stuffed deep inside his tattered rucksack was a guidebook containing advice on what to do in wildlife emergencies, which he planned to read if he survived the next thirty seconds. Future plans to climb Kilimanjaro, teach English in the Amazon and live in Australia were temporarily forgotten as he turned to face the pouncing lioness, thinking back to the words of advice from his mother-in-law. “Don’t do anything silly, and look after Francine.” From deep underground in a remote Bolivian mine to the scorched Australian outback, Round the Bend is an adventure travel story. It explores the turbulence of redundancy, the excitement of travel, the anguish of leaving home and the challenges of starting a new life in Australia.

Excerpt from Round The Bend 

South America is now a distant memory and together with my wife Fran, we celebrate climbing Kilimanjaro by joining an overland truck as it crosses the border into Zimbabwe… 

Our destination was Gweru, home to Antelope Park, a long established stopover with the chance to ride on elephants or walk with lions. Not being lovers of zoos we were apprehensive, but found they are linked to an association named Alert, which supports lion reintroduction into remote areas of Africa.

My first visit was to the elephant keeper who offered me the chance to get up close and personal while they were being fed and watered. Their thick skin was easy to caress and each time I spoke, their ears perked slightly. Before leaving I took the opportunity to hug the smallest elephant. I spread my arms across its mottled stomach and listened to gurgles deep within its bowels.

That evening we headed onto the paddock to watch the orphaned elephants take visitors on a sunset tour. As we moved back to allow them to pass, my elephant glanced over and playfully punched me in the stomach with its trunk. He left a moist imprint on my faded t-shirt then turned and melted into the bush.

The next morning we wrapped up and headed towards the lions’ den for a dawn walk. The juvenile lions ranged from six to eighteen months and the walk is in a game park where abundant food is available, if they are able to catch it. Ideally the organisation would be able to rehabilitate these lions and get them back into the wild with little interaction from humans. Unfortunately the charity needs dollars, so daily walks provide a steady income and a rare opportunity for visitors.

The main guide was a sprightly man dressed in a flannel shirt and khaki trousers. His voice was warm and carried far. ‘Welcome, my friends. This is a special moment for you. But be careful. Yesterday these lions made their first kill and I sense a change. Do not wander into the bush alone. Never turn your back and remember never to run from a lion.’

A thin strand of soft pink caressed distant clouds as we set out with four other trekkers, two guides and five juvenile lions. Initially they stayed close to the guides but as we ventured from the compound their confidence returned and they cantered into the bush in search of game. With no role models to hone their natural instincts the result was a strangely humorous yet slightly sad experience. They blundered after distant game with little chance of pinning down any of the skittish antelope.

One of the females peeled away from the pack, distracted by the low gurgle from a bubbling stream. She slouched low and edged towards the trickle. It created a perfect frame for a photo. I stole away from the group, ducked under a tree branch and moved closer to capture the moment.

While crouching low to create a perfect angle, the deep voice of our guard rippled across the savannah, ‘Bwana, look behind you.’

My stomach pitted. I stood upright and scanned the surrounding bushland. A young lioness was lying flat in the red dirt about fifty metres away, with her eyes locked onto me. I was about halfway between our guard and the lioness. For a few seconds my world stood still. Nothing moved. The lioness looked at me, the guard looked at the animal and I stared at Fran. My heart pounded furiously, but I remembered his advice and willed my legs to stay rooted to the spot. The guard made the first move and sprinted towards me, waving a thick wooden stick and screaming out for the lioness to move away. It ignored the distraction and continued to stare across no man’s land where I stood motionless.

As the guard approached, the lioness charged. For a split second I stared into wild green eyes as she sprung from the dirt and quickly gained momentum. Some primal instinct told me to run.

Praise for Round the Bend:

An inspiring, enlightening and thoroughly enjoyable story of the journey of a lifetime.  Definitely recommended, particularly if you’re planning such a trip or thinking of emigrating.“-Sue Magee, The Book Bag

“A cracking marriage of travel adventures and challenging life decisions makes for a great read!  If you are looking for inspiration on the direction of your life journey or are dreaming of wild travels in remote foreign lands, Halfway Round the Bend, by Alistair McGuinness, is the read for you!
Packed with quirky anecdotes and tales of jungle trekking, mountain scaling and safari survival, this action packed adventure is woven around real life following redundancy and some difficult decisions to leave family / friends and finally emigrate to Australia.
I really enjoyed the read and must admit that I am just a little jealous of some of the places Alistair and his wife Fran experienced on their remarkable extended expedition!”- Rich Packard, Amazon Reviewer

“A great travel adventure book.  A great read. As well as thoroughly enjoying the tale of the authors adventures in South America and descriptions of amazing places I have only ever dreamed of visiting, I loved how the book was more than just a book about someone’s travels. The relationships, people within the book and obvious soul searching which spurs the author on to his quest for adventure are what made this story a real page turner for me. Can’t wait to read the sequel!”- Lara Clark, Amazon Reviewer

” A heartening, entertaining travelogue.  I stumbled across this as a ‘New Release’ and catching sight of my hometown, Luton, in the author’s bio. I’ve always been a fan of travelogues, and this didn’t disappoint.
The journey Alastair relates struck a chord – I found myself quite carried along with Alastair and Fran’s brave adventure and leap from ‘normal’ life into the Amazon and beyond. So many of the other travelogues I’ve read are by seasoned travellers, but Alastair’s ‘fish-out-of-water’ is believable and endearing, and his relaxed style allowed me to share in the wonder and realisation that they seemed to experience on their trip.“-Craig Fisher, Amazon Reviewer

“A cleverly written book with a light and humorous tone throughout.  A collaboration of thrill – seeking times and life changing moments. Not only is the reader able to indulge in some mind blowing travel adventure they are also able to read and understand the pure emotion and challenges of leaving family and friends to start a new life down under.  This is a very unique novel and a very interesting book and a fantastic read. And what’s more exciting there are more installments to come of this marvellous book.”-Simon Barclay, Amazon Reviewer

About Alistair McGuinness:

Alistair grew up in the UK in a town called Luton, which lies 30 miles north of London. Family holidays were spent in County Donegal, Ireland, staying with his Grandmother in their large family home where she had once raised fifteen children.
Alistair McGuinnessIt was these annual trips that made Alistair realise his Great Uncles were SeanachaĆ­s (Irish story tellers). After a few pints of Guinness in the family bar, brothers Barney and Francis would entertain the evening crowds with their recitations of life in rural Ireland. As their rustic voices carried across the crowded room, Alistair would watch and listen as the animated tales mesmorised the overseas visitors.
44 countries and four decades later, Alistair now calls Australia home and in the tradition of Great Uncles Barney and Francis, loves to recite stories. He lives between the beach and the forest with his wife, two young boys and a fun puppy called Peppi. After decades of adventurous escapades Alistair is calming down and has decided to write more and bungee jump less!
He works as a Business Improvement Specialist and has just spent three years as a fly in fly out employee at a remote iron ore mine site in Western Australia. As a trainer and facilitator, he has worked in Europe and Australia and is passionate about helping people and organisations to become successful.
A fun family day for Alistair would be fishing from the local jetty with his boys, taking the puppy for a walk along the beach at sunset and cooking a scrumptious curry in the evening with his wife.
An ideal adventurous day for Alistair would be a days walking and scrambling in the Lake District with friends, followed by a visit to a village pub nestled deep in the English countryside.

Buy Round the Bend:
Barnes and Noble
Book Depository

Follow the Tour:
So Many Precious Books Mar 13 Giveaway & FeatureCrystal’s Many Reviewers Mar 14Bookalicious Traveladdict Mar 14 Guest Post & GiveawayI Feel So Unnecessary Mar 17 ReviewReader’s Muse Mar 18 ReviewReader’s Muse Mar 19 Guest PostLuxury Reading Mar 20 Review & GiveawaySo Many Precious Books Mar 25 ReviewI’d Rather Be At The Beach Mar 24 ReviewFrom L.A. to LA Mar 26 Review & GiveawayDeal Sharing Aunt Mar 27 ReviewDeal Sharing Aunt Mar 28 Guest PostBless Their Hearts Mom Apr 3 Review & Guest PostCassandra M’s Place Apr 4 Review & Giveaway